Amid the rising demand of sustainable livelihood, a large number of Women in rural areas are taking the path of UMEED, to become successful entrepreneurs. In Pulwama district, UMEED has been a wheel of transformation for women to become progressive and self employed women entrepreneurs.

The efforts of the district administration through UMEED has been effectively transforming the traditional understandings of professional success as women in the district are willingly taking up multiple tasks by establishing their own units of entrepreneurship and other sources of income generation.

One of the districts in south Kashmir, Pulwama were 85.65% of the population live in Rural areas is famous all over the world for saffron cultivation.

A centrally sponsored scheme “UMEED” implemented under JK Rural Livelihood Mission has the potential to give wings to the aspirations of rural women who dream of becoming economically independent.”

District Programme Manager (IB & CB) Pulwama, Mr Mohammad Nadeem Bhat says that the UMEED Programme in District Pulwama is being carried in zeal & Zest since its inception and has strategized the identified Poor Women Populace in an optimistic network and are now envisaging development at all folds vis a vis social, economic and physical strata. Further the focus is being laid on maximization of establishing livelihoods at individual level with their own efforts and in convergence with other line departments.

“So far 17287 poor women have been brought within the fold of SHGs while 1986 SHGs have been formed and uploaded on MIS”, said Programme Manager, NRLM, Arsheed Ahmad Bhat. While sharing details he said, the members have contributed Rs. 2.99 crores as their own internal savings besides bank accounts have been opened for all the SHGs under PMJJBY, PMSBY have also been done.

“These new initiatives of Digi-Pay, Krishi, and Pashu Sakhi, besides several other programs of women empowerment such as Hausla, Tejaswini, UMEED, Rise Together etc will further accelerate efforts of J&K government in Empowering Women and making them key partner in UT’s development journey”, said an officer working for implementation of UMEED at Pulwama.

To increase participation of women in awareness and training programmes, UMEED in collaboration with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) facilitated meeting formalities and installed basic infrastructure for setting up the ventures in the district.

Among many other women who established their units and achieved dreams of financial independence, Zamrooda Bano, who owns 4 acres of land, 7 Cows and a baby calf has become a dairy farmer. Exhibiting her fondness for the profession she said, “I like feeding the cattle. I feel happy when a calf is born extending my little dairy farm”. She said it gives her joy when she receives payment from the AMCs installed by NRLM (UMEED).

The milk from Zamrooda’s dairy farm is quite hygienic & pure which attracts many buyers and fetches her higher prices. While talking about the reason behind it, she said that the cattle in her farm belong to a good quality breed besides she also practices hygienic methods.

While showering praise on UMEED Zamrooda, who now earns a regular profit of Rs 24000.00 per month, said, “I am very thankful to JKRLM (UMEED) which showed me path towards empowerment as well as development”. She says that starting with just a small initial investment of Rs20000 from her own pocket, she was provided with an additional investment of Rs 25000 from the concerned village Organization and Rs 625000 from Umeed & Animal Husbandry.

Similarly, Haseena and Parveeza of Khan Basti Lassipora area in south Kashmir’s district Pulwama, has been SHG members for a long time now, said “We didn’t just create a livelihood opportunity for ourselves but to families too by engaging them in it”. They said “UMEED provided us with an appropriate platform for overcoming our financial difficulties we were facing for quite a long time.”

Moreover, they said that with the financial help and bank linkage, they were able to establish a full-fledged workshop and a retail hardware and bakery shop in their vicinity.

“These shops proved successful ventures for both of them as Haseena earns more than Rs 50, 000 while Parveeza earns Rs 30,000 profit per month”.

While being motivated by the financial stability and profits, they intend to further expand the activity so that they could generate employment for other needy women of the locality besides earning more profit.

These stories give a brief glimpse of the UMEED which empowers women, while there exist thousands of SHGs members in the district who availed maximum benefits of various central and UT schemes to become independent and progressive women.

District Programme Manager says with their own thrift, the SHGs members have become credit worthy and have accessed Rs 13.00 crore from different financial institutions and 7.08 crore from JKRLM as capital for investment in their own livelihoods. He said women’s entrepreneurial initiatives, skills, characteristics, attributes, motives and leadership styles, documenting strategies for success and barriers confronted, indicates that not much has changed.

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